Essay: San Andreas Fault System

Sample Essay

The complex processes of formation of the San Andreas Fault in California which had been a convergent plate boundary, started about 65 million years (Suppe and Crouch, 2004) ago. During this period, the plate tectonics of the Mexico, Northern California, Baja and Northern California at a varied rate began to undergo radical changes. During this era, Farallon plate was completely subducted under the North America plate that is currently overrunning a seafloor spreading center. As a consequence, the plate boundary between the Farallon plate and North America turned into a transform boundary which separated North American and Pacific plates.

In the next 35 to 40 million years ago (Suppe and Crouch, 2004) the resultant transform plate boundary developed into a SAFS (San Andreas Fault System). It is within this San Andreas Fault System that San Andreas Fault is a major fault. The fault is a right- lateral transform fault, which in simple language means that if standing on the opposite side of the fault, the people and objects appear moving rightwards. This San Andreas Fault System separates two halves of the continental crust embedded in North America plate moving southwards and other embedded in Pacific plate moving northwards.

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